Anorak News | The Crack Of The Masses

The Crack Of The Masses

by | 13th, February 2006

‘WITH Kate Moss been and gone, the papers needed a new Public Enemy No. 1. And on Monday they spotted him. “NICK HIM,” ordered the Sun’s front-page headline.

Dressed in what passed for militant Islam chic, the youth was seen posing outside the Danish embassy in London.

Upset at those now infamous cartoons of the prophet Muhammed, the youth had dressed up as a suicide bomber and joined a mob of rabid “hate-filled” extremists massed to give full throat to their anger. Inside the paper, there was another shot of the man who got the outfit but not the ambition.

The Sun and the Mail wanted to know who this fool was. And the Star obliged. “UNMASKED,” said the Star’s headline. The wound-be suicide bomber was a British yoof from Bedford

He was called Omar Khayam. And speaking in quatrains, the bespectacled protestor edged his way past the placards calling for death to this one and that one and told the Star that he dressed as he did to “make a point”, to “highlight double standards”.

While the Star and Express listened to Khayam’s apology, there were calls for the cops to just nick him.

But should the police have done more and arrested the protestors? As the Independent said: “To have pulled people out of the crowd could have inflamed passions further. It would also have required the police to make snap judgements about which slogans might be unlawful and which the exercise of free speech.”

And the police are not all that good at making snap judgements. In the pursuit of victim status, a few wrongful arrests would have surely delighted the militants.

But on Tuesday those who wanted Khayam nicked heard some good news. We read the Mirror’s front-page news that he had been jailed for six years in 2002 for possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply.

We were interested. We wanted to know if extreme Islam gave you a similar high to illegal narcotics. Was the ‘E’ to the rave what militant Islam was to raving madness? Could you scream yourself into a state of ecstasy? If so, would militant Islam be reclassified as a Class A drug?

One thing was for sure, the cartoons were big news. The toons – the ones Alan Coren, writing in Wednesday’s Times, called “so ill-conceived, so ill-drawn and so unfunny” – were the top story.

Everyone had something to say about them. Surprising, then, that we never heard what Abu Hamza thought of these crass drawings.

Not that we will be hearing much from the firebrand for the next seven years – he was found guilty of six counts of soliciting murder and jailed.

But while Hamza went to prison, another headline maker remained at large. On Thursday, we saw Peter Doherty escape a jail term.

As the Sun said (“Potty Peter let off with smack on bottom”), Doherty had walked free from Ealing Magistrates’ Court in West London.

Up before the Beak on seven counts of possessing drugs, the Sun said Doherty was looking at a seven-year stretch. The paper noted how Doherty looked “bleary-eyed and disorientated” as he pleaded guilty to all charges against him.

The Beak mulled things over and sentenced Doherty to a year of rehabilitation and ordered that he pay £129 costs.

He was understandably chuffed. As he told Radio 1: “As far as drugs are concerned it’s difficult. But I’d rather be outside with no smack than inside prison with no smack. I want to keep off crack and heroin.”

And the natural high of Muslim extremism, if he can help it…’

Posted: 13th, February 2006 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink